Students could use hurricane prep tips
University should have encouraged Sandy preparation
Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 17:11
On Friday, students received an email from university President Patrick Harker regarding Hurricane Sandy’s effects on the university. In this email, Harker shared details of the minor damage Sandy left on the campus, mentioning that the university community can breathe a sigh of relief after the hurricane. Harker concluded his email by saying, “In short, a stellar job all around.” The university’s response was far from stellar.
This email virtually praised all students and staff on campus, reading more like a public relations announcement than a candid reflection of how the university handled the storm. While the university bombarded students with phone calls, text messages, emails and other “UD alerts,” it essentially did nothing to ensure that off-campus students were prepared to handle Sandy’s wrath. While students were urged to go home for the storm, only students living in residence halls had to fill out a form with their reasons for wishing to stay on campus during Sandy. The university failed to offer hurricane-related advice to both on and off-campus students.
Although the storm did not hit as hard here compared to neighboring states, many weather reports anticipated that the brunt of the storm would hit Newark. Off-campus students were not given any safety precautions to take, nor were they offered any places to stay in case they could not return home and felt unsafe at their Newark location. The university could have done a better job offering students storm-related resources or valuable advice to students who have never endured a hurricane like Sandy. It is possible many students were unaware of what safety precautions to take prior to the hurricane, such as stocking up on major supplies including flashlights, battery-operated clocks and radios and bottled water and preparing the home by taping windows to prevent water leaking indoors or filling the bathtub to have water for flushing the toilet. The university could have taken precaution by sending an email related to hurricane preparedness, rather than emailing the student body afterward.
Moreover, the university’s dining halls lacked the resources it needed to feed and supply the students who chose to stay on campus last week. The dining halls reportedly offered students minimal perishable goods with little staff supervision during the storm. Some students took trays of sandwiches for themselves, while others were left empty-handed. While the university seems to gloat at their reaction to Sandy, there is no doubt officials could have easily gone above and beyond to ensure the whole student body and university community was safe and prepared for the storm.